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0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.       « previous next »
Poll
Question: Which do you prefer?
Smiley Smile - 46 (39.7%)
Wild Honey - 70 (60.3%)
Total Voters: 110

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Author Topic: Twofer polls #4: Smiley Smile vs Wild Honey  (Read 8552 times)
buddhahat
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« on: July 18, 2012, 02:39:48 AM »

Next up ...



Pet Sounds and Surf's Up were the albums that got me back into The Beach Boys as a teenager, but it was this twofer that really turned my preconceptions of the band upside down. I'd never heard anything like it and still haven't really.

SS has some of my all time favourites in Little Pad and Heroes & Villains, and of course there's Good Vibrations. But then, did the BBs ever record songs more charming than Country Air, Aren't You Glad or I'd Love Just Once To See You?

Personally the release of The Smile Sessions has kind of diminished the appeal of Smiley for me. If I want to listen to H&V or GV, then I will always reach for the Smile album now. And Smiley always seems a little tense and uptight. Maybe it's because I'm so aware of the backstory. It just seems like a bad trip in contrast to the effortlessly breezy groove of Wild Honey. Plus it hangs together better as an album, although maybe it's just GV that throws Smiley off.

So WH gets my vote ...
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 03:15:27 AM by buddhahat » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2012, 04:24:35 AM »

I love both albums, they both have excellent song material and an appealing atmosphere. Wild Honey wins for me though. It's slightly better as a whole. And although I like the Smiley Smile versions of Vegetables, Wind Chimes and Wonderful, they're also a bit painful to listen to because the Smile versions are so much better...
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« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2012, 04:44:31 AM »

I love both albums, they both have excellent song material and an appealing atmosphere. Wild Honey wins for me though. It's slightly better as a whole. And although I like the Smiley Smile versions of Vegetables, Wind Chimes and Wonderful, they're also a bit painful to listen to because the Smile versions are so much better...

Same here. Also, for me, it was the toughest choice so far. They are my 6th and 7th favourite BB albums.
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A band called The Beach Boys are mostly going to be a fun in the sun-themed group. And that has, is, and will always be just as it should. There needs to be ONE classic band that isn't a pack of endless "artistic" moan. All people wanna do is make The Beach Boys into another Beatles they are less tired of.
And, for anyone who has actually experienced them, surfing and cars carry PLENTY of emotion and life experience. They can carry as much metaphor as any Van Dyke Parks clever epistle.
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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2012, 04:55:08 AM »

I chose Smiley Smile without hesitation. I've never cared for the overall mix of Wild Honey and SS spurs on some very interesting conversation with guests.

By the way, this was the first 2-fer I ever owned. I got it off of Amazon back in 1999 and still rides with me in the car to this day. Can never get enough of it I suppose.
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Jukka
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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2012, 05:19:20 AM »

This twofer was my introduction to The Beach Boys (aside from the unavoidable hits). I was young and foolish, and Smiley Smile put me off the band for years! It took five years before I gave them a second change (buying Pet Sounds). I was hooked, dug deeper, and now this twofer is the most-listened and cherished CD in my collection. I love every song, every minute. Impossible choice, as both albums are perfect, but I voted Smiley Smile. I have a long and complex relationship with it, and it still continues to amaze me on a weekly basis.
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Zach95
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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2012, 05:31:21 AM »

Smiley Smile offers glorious insight within the mind of a frayed and shattered Brian Wilson, more so than perhaps, in my opinion, Love You.  With that, I've always held Smiley Smile in very, very high regard and it's one of my absolute favorite Beach Boys albums.  Wind Chimes and Wonderful knock me out, these versions are so dark and eerie; they make you uncomfortable but intrigued in how they were created.  Heroes is another highlight, not much more needs to be said about that track.  She's Goin Bald may be one of my favorite Beach Boys songs, and Little Pad's sonic atmosphere and simplicity make it another obvious highlight.  Of course, Good Vibrations is on this record, which alone makes it worth your while. Oh, and who can forget With You Tonight, another intriguing and somewhat haunting track.

Don't get me wrong, I adore Wild Honey. It's an exceptional album.  But Smiley Smile is right up there with the best in their catalogue. I tend not to compare it directly with Smile, in my opinion they should be considered as entirely separate entities created for very different purposes. Neither of them, in my mind, is better. Both are incredible works.  Smiley Smile does, however, offer a glimpse of what Smile may have been from a very dark and haunting perspective, and helped ignite the legend and myth of the Smile sessions.  
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« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2012, 06:02:29 AM »

Wild Honey - although the sound is downright appalling in spots, there's a lot of great, catchy melodies. Mike's lyrics are great. You get a nice cross section of lead vocals by Brian, Carl, and Mike. Smiley Smile sounds a bit demented, Wild Honey is FUN! S-o-c-k it to me.
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« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2012, 06:26:52 AM »

Much like Sunflower vs Surf's Up, incredibly difficult to decide!

I love Smiley Smile for what it is and both "Fall Breaks..." and the Smiley version of "Wind Chimes" have to be among my very favorite BB songs period. Still, Wild Honey is such a brilliant album in such an unassuming way that I think I like it even better. I've read some very critical comments about CW's lead-vocal performance on the opening track but personally I think it's fantastic.

I used to hate the overall sound of this album for quite some time until it finally clicked with me on breezy summer evening two or three years ago. Since then, WH has been a huge favorite of mine. It's soulful and quirky and the stripped-down production and overall murkiness fit the song material perfectly well as far as I'm concerned. Not one single weak song on the entire LP and a beautiful album cover to boot.
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« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2012, 06:36:58 AM »

No contest for me.  Smiley Smile got me into The Beach Boys when I first heard it in 1988.  I loved it on first listen and I still love it.  Fall Breaks and Back To Winter, Little Pad, Wonderful, Heroes and Villains, Vegetables, With Me Tonight, all great.  Wind Chimes into Gettin' Hungry?  Brilliant. 

I like Wild Honey, but probably not as much as most folks around here.  I like many of the songs, especially Aren't You Glad, A Thing Or Two, Darlin', and Let The Wind Blow.  I'm not fond of the minimalist production on these R&B type songs.  A remix or a stereo version would probably raise my opinion of the album a couple of notches.  And I'm one who doesn't particularly care for Carl's performance on the title track.  He would grow into that R&B voice over time, but on this track it sounds like he's struggling to hit the notes.

Smiley Smile for me. 
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Emdeeh
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« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2012, 10:34:39 AM »

Wild Honey is the greatest album of all time, imho!

 Brian, Dennis, & Carl w00t!


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NHC
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« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2012, 10:45:28 AM »

Wild Honey hands down.  Without GV and HV, Smiley is nothing.  I have it but I never listen to it. I'll put on MIU and SIP before that, but then again I like MIU and a lot of SIP.
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Jukka
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« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2012, 11:00:28 AM »

Without GV and HV, Smiley is nothing.

Whoa. Without GV and HV would be even better than it already is! Without them it would be more unified album.
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« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2012, 11:17:03 AM »

Without GV and HV, Smiley is nothing.

Whoa. Without GV and HV would be even better than it already is! Without them it would be more unified album.

Smiley Smile for me...I don't really care for Wild Honey. Never have.  I like Darlin' and a couple others off there, but as a whole, it sounds forced and sloppy at the same time to me.

Smiley is so quirky and odd that it warrants the repeated listens, imo.
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« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2012, 11:23:25 AM »

Without GV and HV, Smiley is nothing.

Roll Eyes

Smiley Smile is the most vocally tedious album the Beach Boys ever recorded. Bruce Johnston couldn't give it enough praise in a recent interview (for the Songwriter DVD) for it's stunning harmonies and attention to detail.

I would LOVE a book, or a small outline/essay regarding the Smiley Smile days....because I think a lot of people just assume that Brian was going insane while recording it....I just can't believe that. Listen to the SOT boots, it's clear Brian isn't going nuts, he's just trying to create a really groovy record....and he did.

Oh, I voted for Smiley Rock!
« Last Edit: July 18, 2012, 11:24:44 AM by rab2591 » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2012, 11:55:57 AM »

"Wild Honey" for me, very special album in my book.

It's just so fun. I'm with Robert Christgau on this one, A+
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« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2012, 01:17:32 PM »

I simply cannot choose between the two - they go together, even though they are distinctly different. In their own demented way, they feel like a summer soundtrack to me.
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« Reply #16 on: July 18, 2012, 01:41:38 PM »

Although I don't consider either to be perfect or stellar from beginning to end, there are some obvious highlights and they represent a fascinating period for the band coming off the aborted Smile.  It was both a commercial unravelling and a significant creative transition for them like never before.  The sound is minimalist and sometimes bizarre on the new cuts of the former especially.  I generally prefer Beach Boys music with fuller production, but there are some notable exceptions. I went with Wild Honey because it feels like more like its own album and I think the songs work well more consistently.  It in particular is screaming for a stereo remastering.  Smiley Smile does of course have Good Vibrations in all its glory, but some of the Smile fragments don't hold up to their original form and the little new material is hit and miss.  At any rate, they are fiarly comparable in quality and I can't say there are any other Beach Boys albums like them, so it's a fitting twofer.

My track rankings:

Let the Wind Blow
Good Vibrations
Darlin'
Heroes and Villains
Country Air
With Me Tonight
I'd Love Just Once to See You
Here Comes the Night
Vegetables
Wind Chimes
Little Pad
Aren't You Glad
Wild Honey
She's Goin' Bald
A Thing or Two
I Was Made to Love Her
Wonderful
Whistle In
How She Boogalooed It
Mama Says
Gettin' Hungry
Fall Breaks and Back to Winter (W. Woodpecker Symphony)
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« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2012, 02:08:09 PM »

I simply cannot choose between the two - they go together, even though they are distinctly different. In their own demented way, they feel like a summer soundtrack to me.

So true! Especially Smiley Smile. It's the perfect summer soundtrack for those ominous summer days, when air is standing still and weather is unbearably hot. You just know that thunder will come later in the afternoon, but right now you can just sit and wait and try to stay cool. That's Smiley Smile.
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« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2012, 02:38:16 PM »

Smiley Smile is probably one of the Boys' best albums period. The mood, the instruments, the atmospheric tension, the carrots. Amazing. Wild Honey is enjoyable and definitely deserving of any positive critique it may get, but I don't listen to it half as much as Smiley.
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« Reply #19 on: July 18, 2012, 02:41:53 PM »

Man, I sure thought there was a lot more love on this board for Smiley Smile, Wild Honey's received twice as many votes!
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« Reply #20 on: July 18, 2012, 03:03:45 PM »

Without GV and HV, Smiley is nothing.

Whoa. Without GV and HV would be even better than it already is! Without them it would be more unified album.

Smiley Smile for me...I don't really care for Wild Honey. Never have.  I like Darlin' and a couple others off there, but as a whole, it sounds forced and sloppy at the same time to me.

Smiley is so quirky and odd that it warrants the repeated listens, imo.

Wow, you have articulated exactly how I feel about Wild Honey, glad I'm not the only one who doesn't much care for it! I've come to like it a little more since I first heard it but that god-damn detuned piano annoys the crap out of me and I really dislike Here Comes The Night, A Thing Or Two and How She Boogalooed It which for me are among the weakest tracks the Boys recorded in the 60s. So, Smiley Smile by a landslide for me, it might be a weird as hell album recorded sloppily by (at the time) stoners but I love it to death, 3rd favourite Beach Boys album behind Pet Sounds and All Summer Long.
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« Reply #21 on: July 18, 2012, 04:54:34 PM »

Lord knows I've tried and tried to get into Smiley Smile!  It's too depressing for me.  If I want to listen to depressing music, I certainly ain't gonna reach for a Beach Boys album!  The Smile versions of Wind Chimes and Wonderful make the Smiley versions sound like amateur demos.  On the other hand Veggies sounds better and more finished on Smiley, but it's not enough to save the whole album for me.

Wild Honey all the way for me.  It's fun, it rocks, it's groovy! Sounds like the Boys are actually having a good time.  Country Air and Let the Wind Blow are magnificent.  So atmospheric.   
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« Reply #22 on: July 18, 2012, 05:22:51 PM »

Smiley Smile for me personally.  It's just so wonked out, hilarious, bizarre, and beautiful.  Wild Honey is awesome too.  I love every song on it but I wish the album had a fuller drum sound.  Just compare the live Aren't You Glad on Live in London to the studio version!
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« Reply #23 on: July 18, 2012, 10:30:15 PM »

I don't know how anyone could list Fall Breaks as the worst song on the twofer. The stereo version blows my mind  Banana
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« Reply #24 on: July 18, 2012, 11:32:26 PM »

I simply cannot choose between the two - they go together, even though they are distinctly different. In their own demented way, they feel like a summer soundtrack to me.

So true! Especially Smiley Smile. It's the perfect summer soundtrack for those ominous summer days, when air is standing still and weather is unbearably hot. You just know that thunder will come later in the afternoon, but right now you can just sit and wait and try to stay cool. That's Smiley Smile.
You got it! Thanks for putting it into words.
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